by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Pakistan’s star goalkeeper Saqib Hanif is passing through a most difficult situation as he has been quarantined in the Maldives soon after he along with his team TC Sports Club reached Male the other day.
The team was returning to Maldives via Colombo after playing an AFC Cup game for Maldives’ TC Sports Club against Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings on March 11 in Dhaka. When they reached Colombo, Maldives’ government told them to live in quarantine before coming to Maldives.
The Maldives government also told TC Sports Club management that the players would go to their homes after being quarantined in Colombo. When the team spent its quarantine in Colombo a lockdown started and so Saqib and his teammates spent around 25 days in the Sri Lankan capital.
The other day the team reached Maldives through a cargo flight. Contrary to the Maldives government’s promise that the players would go home, they were brought to a resort for quarantine after the team management debated the matter with the government for around five hours at the Male Airport.
Saqib told ‘The News’ from his room where he has been quarantined in Maldives that he is fine. “We have been quarantined in Maldives. The Furaveri Resort Maldives is fine but I don’t know where my teammates are as every player has been kept in a separate room,” Saqib said.
“There is no WiFi connection. We can’t even go to the balcony. We are served fine meal but it is kept outside the room,” Saqib said.
“The fate of the AFC Cup is unknown. We had also to play FA Cup and President Cup in Maldives but because of this issue everything has been disturbed. After spending two weeks in quarantine, my top priority would be to return to Pakistan,” said Saqib. He added that Maldives league has already been completed, and that his club had finished third.
Saqib is not the only Pakistani player to have been stuck abroad because of the coronavirus issue. Two of Pakistan’s top volleyballers, captain Aimal Khan and middle blocker Mohammad Waseem, have been stranded in Thailand. Aimal is in Korat while Waseem is in Bangkok. Both were playing in Thailand League.
On Monday Aimal told ‘The News’ that Pakistan’s embassy was trying to arrange a flight for all those Pakistanis who had been stuck in Thailand. He said that the embassy was preparing a list and hopefully soon they would return to Pakistan.